Today, TheFeed Reader, is Good Friday, the day Christians "celebrate" the crucifixion of Jesus. (Spoiler alert: He rises from the dead this Sunday.) In honor of this most Holy Day, TheFeed is proud to present our roundup of five of the most notable Christian games in history, organized from the ones we like best to the ones we like least.
We love Christians, but we hate crappy games. The Bible inspired some of the greatest artistic masterpieces in literature, film, painting, sculpture and theater; but in the medium of video games, the best Bible games we've seen are rip-offs of other, better games. Come on, God. You can inspire your flock to do better than that.
Below, in order from most angelic to most sinister, are five notable religious games. Bless you, my child.
Ernesto Moreno, G4's resident Christian gaming expert and the guy who makes most of the pretty artwork on G4tv.com, says this NES riff on Legend of Zelda is incredibly enjoyable, in an 8-bit adventure way. You play as a peasant collecting the Armor of the Lord, piece by piece, by traveling from the slums to the suburb to the countryside and converting heathens by throwing fruit at them. This was, apparently, a big hit in Christian gaming households in the 80s. And even if you're not a Christian, it will at least remind you of the fun you once had playing Zelda. The interstitial Bible quizzes are a little annoying, though. In the clip above, you see what happens when a naughty player enters a bar. Tsk. Tsk. There is nothing in there for you, God Boy.
This PC and Mac game is a clone of Guitar Hero with Christian Rock songs. That's it, really. Here's where it shines: The peripheral. Billy Berghammer (and just about everyone else here) disagrees, but in my opinion, Guitar Praise's wireless guitar peripheral is as least as good, and maybe better, than either Guitar Hero or Rock Band's axes. The song charts and responsiveness are spot-on too. Here's where it fails: Putting aside the music (which is terrible), and the graphics (which are functional but not impressive) Guitar Praise doesn't have enough God in it. There's nothing specifically Christian about it other than the songs (which are terrible). Maybe a tour mode where you visit the world's greatest cathedrals, rocking faces and converting souls with your blazing six-string skills? Anything to add depth to the concept would help liven it up. Another plus: Unlike all of the other games on this list, Guitar Praise doesn't actively contradict the words of the Bible and thereby cause religious-minded players theological vexation: Jesus never said not to rock out. Dan Whitehill, G4's director of interactive services, says his mom uses this game as a tool to help keep the kids holy in her Sunday school class, so it has Dan Whitehill's mom's seal of approval!
Left Behind: Eternal Forces
This PC RTS is based on the massively popular Christian book series Left Behind. The game is a real-time strategy game with a difference: Instead of killing enemies, you convert them to Christianity. Surround an aetheist with prayer warriors and he'll come over to the God side and fight with you. Sadly, the presentation is shoddy, the models look bad, there isn't any music, and there are a thousand other things wrong here, but you have to give publisher Left Behind Games credit -- they tried to create an original game based on a book as opposed to just jacking someone else's game and slapping some godness on it. Check out X-Play's two-star review for more info.
Super 3D Noahs' Ark
Noah's got goat problems in this Super Nintendo 3D shooter. Well, I guess "shooter" is the wrong word. Since the player uses a slingshot to throw wheat and berries at armies of goats, this is more like a 3D grainer. Anyway, if you like the original Wolfenstein 3D, but you wish it was a crappier, you'll love this game, because it is the original Wolfenstein 3D, only the enemies look worse, the "weapons" are dumb and you feed cows and goats instead of battling a robot-armored Adolph Hitler wielding dual machine guns. Check out the side-by-side comparison in the video above to what I mean. Strangely, Super 3D Noah's Ark, Spiritual Warfare and Bible Adventures are not officially licensed Nintendo games. They're bootlegs, so the company that sold them is not paying licensing fees to Nintendo. In a way, selling them is like stealing. Stealing from Mario. If you think about it, the existence of these games refutes their own Christian messages. I just blew my own mind.
I worship the terrible Elder God Cthulhu who sleeps beneath the sea in the sunken city of R'yleth. When the stars align, The Great Tentacled One will awaken from His slumber to visit terrible mayhem, murder and destruction on Mankind and all his works, but even Cthulhu wouldn't play this game. The collection of three very similar 8-bit platformers features characters who can carry junk on their heads then throw it. It's like Super Mario Bros. 2 without the fun. Once the initial interest in making Noah carry three cows on his head wears off (and it will, quickly) you'll stop playing. Warning: trying to actually finish this game may make you question your own faith by asking God: "Why do bad games happen to good people?"